At times, I feel as though my RA shares similarities with the story Alice in Wonderland. Like Alice, I wake up and I wonder, have I been changed in the night? Was I the same when I got up this morning? Sometimes I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But, if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?’ That is the great puzzle.
Some days, I wake up and feel that I used to be much more..."muchier." Those are the days that I feel as if I have lost my muchness. That I am Almost-Ashley. Not quite the Ashley that I once was. I feel that Almost-Ashley is falling down a rabbit hole, spiraling out of control, to find herself in a world she cannot explain. A world where nothing seems to make sense. A world where she is told to “eat this”, and “drink that”… only to be surprised with results and side effects that she did not expect. These are the days that Almost-Ashley, almost decides that living in this muddled world is impossible.
On these days, like Alice, I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Count them. One, there is medicine that will relieve my swelling. Two, there is surgery to help my ailments. Three, I recover quickly. Four, symptoms can disappear. Five, there is a place for physical therapy. Six, I can slay the arthritis.
While my six things may not seem impossible to outsiders, peering through my looking glass, people that suffer from RA, or any other chronic condition understand that even such actions as walking, standing or sleeping can seem like impossible tasks. Everyone has their own monsters to slay. Their own symptoms and difficulties. Their own impossibilities. Because of this, every day, I try my hardest to wake up, and remember that things are only impossible if you believe they are impossible.
Every morning when I wake up, I make a conscious decision. I make the decision to either be Almost or Absolutely me. Some mornings the decision is easy, other mornings it is challenging. Some days I wake up and don’t even want to be me at all. No matter what, when I feel like it impossible to get out of bed, I do it. I was told at the onset of my RA it was impossible to competitively ride, one year ago I showed in the World Pinto Show, one of the highest levels of competition on that circuit. After surgery, I was told it was impossible to stand and walk unassisted earlier than the end of July. I was rising and walking by the beginning of June. Things are only impossible if you BELIEVE they are impossible. This is the attitude that separates Almost-Ashley from Absolutely-Ashley. Absolutely-Ashley never lets anyone, including herself, tell her anything is impossible. One step is all it takes to turn the impossible, possible. One step. One step is all it takes to reclaim your muchness.